Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Frenzy; We're Off

This needs no introduction; The NFL Free-Agent Frenzy has got me all fired up!

My first reaction to the Minnesota Vikings pulling the trigger on their much talked about desire to add soon to be 35-year old quarterback Donvoan McNabb, ehhhhhhh. Best case scenario: McNabb can pull it together in a bounce back season and give the 'Vikes something more along the lines of what Favre was able to give them in 2009 (33 TD's & 7 INT's). Worst case scenario: You get a 35-year old quarterback who looks like Donovan McNabb (14 TD's & 15 INT's) a season ago. Either way, Adrian Peterson is still stuck watching a combination of Jackson/Bollinger/Ferotte/Favre/Webb and now rookie Christian Ponder and Donovan McNabb play in front him. Sorry AP.

The Dallas Cowboys & New York Jets took care of business on Wednesday and signed two of their own. It may have taken some work, fending off heavy offers from Tampa Bay and cutting veterans Roy Williams, Marc Colombo, and Marion Barber, but the Cowboys got their man in offensive tackle Doug Free. In short, Free is going to protect franchise quarterback Tony Romo for the next four seasons and keeping him upright after missing over two months of last season due to injury was the most important move. Thumps up. As for the Jets, they had a decision to make. Either keep Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards, and they kept the right guy in my opinion. Holmes is going to continue to be a favorite target of quarterback Mark Sanchez, he can move after the catch, make plays in small places, and he's easily one of the most talented offensive players in the game. Thumbs up. (sidenote: If the Jets add Asomugha, you can forget passing on them, period.)

From The Beltway; A brief reaction from our readers in the nation's capital upon hearing the news of the Redskins and Patriots agreeing to terms on a deal which sends the much maligned Albert Haynesworth to the New England: "Haynesworth is a piece of sh*t, next." - Angry 'Skins fan

My thoughts exactly sir. I'm just not sure I understand the draw here. He's been average in a 3-4 defense in his past and while he's probably more effective than any future fifth rounder (the 'Skins compensation), I don't see him being more motivated in New England just because they win.

More on those New England Patriots, how did no one fill us in with the details of the new CBA earlier? Such as, New England must acquire every dysfunctional personality in the NFL in a 48-hour period. For as much as I don't care for the Haynesworth trade, I am buying the most recent deal for Chad Ochocinco from Cincinnati in exchange for a bag of donuts and a restructured 3-year deal. Listen, we saw what a motivated for the first time in his career Randy Moss did with Brady in toe in 2007, if you get half of that with Chad, this is worth it.

Really Philadelphia?!? Getting Rodgers-Cromartie and second round pick from Arizona is not nearly enough for quarterback Kevin Kolb, not nearly! The Philadelphia Eagles, had Arizona over a barrel after wide receiver Steve Breaston robbed the Chiefs of nine-million plus in guaranteed loot. What were they going to do if Philadelphia sent Kolb elsewhere because they wouldn't give up a first-round pick?!? You think Larry Fitzgerald wouldn't have lost his mind on Arizona ownership if they didn't land Kolb? They would virtually have no shot at re-signing Fitzgerald when he hits free-agency, thus making the acquisition of Kolb a must. Instead of calling their bluff Philadelphia gets Rodgers-Cromartie who can't tackle, that only worked for Primetime at the corner spot. Despite what ESPN's Mike Sando says, Arizona stole Kevin Kolb. If I learned one thing from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (aside from the fact that Shia Labeouf is a terrible actor) it's that you sell high.

Death, Taxes, and Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder spending money like he's Antoine Walker at a craps table. The only three things we can really bank on, pun totally intended. $12.5 Million guaranteed to nose tackle Barry Cofield, $6 million guaranteed to wide receiver Santana Moss, $6 million guaranteed to corner Josh Wilson, $12 million guaranteed to defensive lineman Stephen Bowen, and some part of $20 million over five-years for offensive lineman Chris Chester. I'm no math major, nor would I ever claim to be, but that is something close to $40 million dollars in approximately 72-hours. Dan, it's okay to just be filthy rich and own an NFL team, no really it is! Are we sure Dan didn't call up Jacksonville and advise them on that $30 million they just gave Clint Session?!?!

Ahhh, this feels good. All this free-agency in the past four days has got me smoking again! Man, do we love this game or what!

New podcast up tommorow, Audio Lynchy
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Unlocked; QB's First

Unlocked. No more film of player representatives in business suits, strap on your chin straps. It feels good to get writing about the NFL, so we're going to dive right in!

For the Nnamdi Asomugha followers out there, pull up. The top free-agent to hit the market turned 30 this month and isn't going to be the key to anyone reaching the Super Bowl. Yes, he is a nice player, yet in a quarterback driven league, sure up your offensive lines and go out and get a guy who can W-I-N.

The Philadelphia Eagles are in the proverbial quarterback driver's seat. They've got a huge chip to deal in quarterback Kevin Kolb, a young player with a short sample of success. With the Eagles being forced to hand the keys of Andy Reid's offense over to Michael Vick (100.2 QB Rating in 2010), Kolb was the odd man out. Why is he so valuable?!? Kolb isn't a castoff because he's been a mental midget somewhere else, see; Vince Young. Kolb isn't an older veteran with a couple years left in the tank at best, see; Matt Hasselbeck. Seattle already seems to be moving on from the prospect of getting Kolb so move right onto Arizona. It may cost them a first-rounder and more, but it's worth it. With that . . .

The Arizona Cardinals have got to make the move for Kolb. With Larry Fitzgerald being key to the Cardinals offense, a receiver with a far above-average skill set, nothing is more important than quarterback. A 26-year old Kolb throwing passes to a 27-year old Fitzgerald for the next four to five years?!? That's the Cardinal offense. Don't be shocked if the Cardinals balk at a Kolb deal however, this is the same franchise who bought stock in Derek Anderson a year ago.

The Seattle Seahawks are clueless, just clueless. First a year ago paying former Chargers third-string quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, $8 million dollars over the next two seasons. They passed on a couple athletic quarterbacks during the 2011 NFL Draft, and have already written on off Seattle veteran Matt Hasselbeck, the same Hasselbeck who threw for 3,000 yards last season. Most recently, the Seahawks have been rumoured to be very interested in athletic Minnesota castoff Tarvaris Jackson?!? Former Vikings coordinator now Seattle's, Darrell Bevell, might be the link between a Tarvaris to Seattle move, but if the Seahawks are planning on doing anything this season, they may have to stick to running the ball.

The Cincinnati Bengals are turning the team over to rookie quarterback Andy Dalton while long-time Bengal Carson Palmer has demanded a trade and Cincinnati refuses to grant him one. So long as new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden feels that Dalton is ready after a very short prep period, the Bengals are prepared to move forward with a rookie under center in 2011.

Another rookie, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, will most likely be the other rookie signal caller to come out of the gate. Like the Bengals, the Panthers aren't going to be giving much time to Newton to prepare. Yet if any quarterback can alter the plan and come out with some surprises, it could be an athletic Newton who has shown he can improvise on the spot, at least at the collegiate level.

The Minnesota Vikings selected quarterback Christian Ponder in the NFL Draft back in April, but I have a sneaking suspicion they too are in the market for one of two quarterbacks. My guess is Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton who understandably will not take a liking to playing backup to Tim Tebow but can most likely be a bridge quarterback to Minnesota in a division he is familiar with. Also, veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb could possibly be an answer, not a very good one albeit.

Over the next few days, some of the most active days in offseason movement we'll ever see, the quarterback rotations are going to be set for most likely each and every one of these field generals. Where will Hasselbeck land? Is Kyle Orton headed back to the NFC Norris? Where will Vince Young get another shot?


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekend Notes

I'm trying to squeeze in as much baseball prior to the NFL Frenzy that is about to take place. With the NFL Lockout wrapping up, these are my MLB Weekend Notes.

It was good to see pitcher Dontrelle Willis back on the mound Sunday night. The 29-year old Cincinnati Reds lefty had another solid start going six innings allowing just three runs yet not factoring in the decision. In three starts with the Reds, Willis has allowed seven runs on 15 hits. I can't help but think that under Reds manager Dusty Baker, Willis couldn't have a better man in his corner as he attempts to regain control of his career. He's a pitcher we've always wanted to see do well.

The 'sure-to-be-dealt' Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran needs to be quiet. After coming out this weekend and making it clear he would much rather be traded to a National League contender as oppose to moving to the American League, the Mets can't be happy. With full no-trade protection, Beltran is in the driver's seat. The reality here is, whatever any contender gives up, it's for an outfielder with a good bat that will be no more than a rental for the remainder of the season. Beltran will go to free agency in the winter and look for the highest bidder, that's clear. The Mets are going to have to watch their asking price go way down now. My suggestion?!? Make Reyes available, trade the two of them, and move on.

The American League Central is decided. Cleveland and Chicago don't have what it takes to contend deep into this thing. The Tigers behind Justin Verlander are strong enough to win this division and should. Both Jhonny Peralta and Miguel Cabrera are having very good seasons offensively and with pitcher Rick Porcello turning things on as of late it looks like the Tigers have developed a very good 1-2 from their rotation. I like the Tigers to run away with this thing in a few weeks.

Why wouldn't Seattle make ace Felix Hernandez available? The Mariners strikeout king has got all the tools to lead a contender to the World Series, the only problem is, Seattle has got no chance at making it to October play. Losers of 15-straight, Seattle needs help. There are several teams that would pay a huge amount for the talents of the Mariners 25-year old righty. In eight of their fifteen losses, the Mariners scored two or fewer runs, they're bad. How many years do you hold onto Felix with no hope at improving? See the Indians dealing both Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia when they had to turn things around.

Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford looked pretty damn good in his first six games off the DL. Albeit against the Orioles and Mariners, Crawford looks to have his swing back after sitting out twenty-four games with a bum hamstring. Against Seattle on Sunday afternoon Crawford led the way with three hits and a pair of runs batted in. In Boston, things are looking awfully good if we haven't said it enough already.

I really liked newly anointed Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar as a kid. Yes he was a 12x All-Star, yes he was a 10x Gold Glover, but his two World Series rings might be the things that shine most from his playing days. As an uber important part of the 1992 & 1993 back-to-back World Series Champion Blue Jays, Alomar made his career. Playing alongside Cal Ripken later in his career, I got to really appreciate how good Alomar was. Hats off.

Furthermore, With Bert Blyleven also joining Alomar at the Hall of Fame yesterday afternoon, be prepared to watch each and every 'PED' player not reach The Hall as borderline players such as Blyleven reach the honor.

Check out the TheRightNowPodcast for Episode 7 of our third season!

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

No Room At The Top

With the fewest losses and most wins of any other teams in the American League, it looks as if we're headed to an ever familiar place with the Yankees and Red Sox. What is it going to take to slow down the best of the American League East?!?! Your guess is as good as ours.

As the trade deadline (July 31st) draws near, and the Tampa Bay Rays recover from six-straight against their American League East rivals, we're breaking down all things Sawwwwx and Yanks.

Get After It!

First, turn to the men roaming center for each ball club. Red Sox All-Star outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, has been nothing short of spectacular this season. As written previously this month, Ellsbury is not only tearing the cover off the ball but he's on pace for career highs in home runs, RBI, on-base percentage, and runs scored. Through Wednesday, Ellsbury has already launched 16-home runs giving the Red Sox a huge power surge from their outfield spots. Why has this been the catalyst for the Sox offense?!? Aside from the obvious reasons, setting the table by getting on base for the bats of Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz, Ellsbury has been the only consistent offensive weapon in the Red Sox outfield. With injuries to off-season acquisition Carl Crawford, and the remarkably poor play of veteran J.D. Drew, Ellsbury has been the constant. Adversely, his Yankee counterpart, All-Star outfielder Curtis Granderson is turning in a very similar season. Granderson is having his best season as a Yankee (albeit in his second), on pace for his best season at the plate since 2008. All Granderson's slugging numbers are way up with the hitter's friendly ballpark in New York, as well as his batting average and on-base percentage. His patience at the plate with 49 walks and has really set the tone for the Yankee offense. Both players speed on the base path and ability to get on have really pushed their bats to new levels and have obviously powered their league leading offenses.

With both teams pitching staffs suffering the injury bug throughout numerous times in the first half, it's been their front-end aces that have stood up. All-Stars C.C. Sabathia and Josh Beckett have led the Yankees and Red Sox all season long. Sabathia is turning in another strong Cy Young push. The MLB's leader in wins (14), Sabathia has won his last seven starts with the only loss in his last ten coming against those pesky Red Sox. Even more remarkable, Sabathia has allowed just two earned runs in his last five starts while throwing seven plus innings in each starts, he's devouring innings. The Yankees ace is amongst the league leaders in strikeouts (134), innings pitched (153.2), and earned run average (2.64). His Red Sox counterpart is turning in a hell of a season. Beckett's biggest accomplishment this season? His team is 5-0 against the Yankees and Rays when Beckett has started. His ace stuff is back with a mind boggling 2.12 earned run average through eighteen starts. Furthermore, the only Red Sox starter who has yet to hit the DL with injury, Beckett has been the backbone of their rotation from jump. Allowing just 28 earned runs all season, Beckett is sure to be considered in each and every Cy Young debate come this fall. With aces like this, who wants any part of Boston and New York opening an October series.

Let's get real here, these two teams are built for postseason play. The Yankees and Red Sox both took the Rays right after the All-Star break and gave them two very tough series while taking 2 of 3 from Tampa. In each teams series against their division opponent, they played games right down to the wire in tie games and ended up coming out on top. Why?!?! Because they have the bench and the staff to pitch deep into games with very little worry. They've got pitchers like Beckett and Sabathia who eat innings and strikeout batters. They've got table setters like Granderson and Ellsbury who have power as well. They've got managers like Girardi and Francona who dawn World Series rings and know how to use a bench. I've always liked guys like Joe Maddon and Mike Scioscia for what they do with what they have, but they don't get it done as often as the two American League East heavyweights have in recent years. We're headed to a fall that looks very familiar, just like I said and if Buck Showalter don't like it, The Worldwide Leader can keep his seat warm.

As a dog fight for the American League begins to playout, we're witnessing the only two teams in the American League playing .600 ball or better. With just a game and a half separating the two clubs in late July, expect much more of the same!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Derek Jeter, Kudos.

It's awfully hard to dislike The Captain, because he's made it that way. There was a time early in his career he was #3 amongst fan favorite shortstops, himself, former Mariner turned eventual Yankee Alex Rodriguez, and the retired Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. Now, Jeter is second to no one. A staple of the New York Yankees since 1995, Jeter has been part of five World Series Championship teams, and most recently a member of the 3,000 hit club, so it's time he gets our due at LynchyRightNow.

Let's take a look at where Jeter lands on the all-time hits list by the time he hangs it up. On August 1st, he'll most likely already have passed the likes of Wade Boggs (3,010 hits).

Sidenote: Anytime Boggs' name is brought up one thing comes to mind. Was Boggs downing 64 beers on a cross-country flight more impressive than any of his baseball accomplishments? Hall of Famer ladies and gentlemen.

By summers end, the 37-year old shortstop will have passed Lou Brock (3,023) and will be fast approaching Rickey Henderson (3,055). Two of the games greatest hitters and the top two stolen base leaders in the history of Major League Baseball. Impressed yet?!?!

After signing an off-season deal with the Yankees that would keep him in New York through the next three seasons, including this current one in 2011, where will Jeter land amongst the greatest? Move over Tony Gwynn (3,141) and Cal Ripken Jr. (3,184) by the end of the 2012 season. Both Hall of Famers, faces of the Padres and Orioles alike, terrific company for Jeter to pass by on his assault of the record books.

Is it somewhere between Eddie Murray (3,255) and the great Willie Mays (3,283)? Probably. While injuries are more often later in your career, Jeter has been fortunate to avoid those injuries throughout his career. If Jeter avoids major injury, 111 hits per season in 2012 and 2013 is all that it would take to pass them. Furthermore, 111 hits per season is actually drastically off his average of 176 throughout his career, and with that he'd pass both Murray and Mays.

Then it's the Top 10, with names such as Yastrzemski (3,419), Aaron (3,771), and The Hit King Pete Rose (4,256) being a reach for Jeter. Are Paul Molitor (3,319) and Honus Wagner (3,415) out of play as well?!? I'm going to go with no and yes, because Wagner isn't worried yet.

For Derek Jeter, his career has been one of legends just like the names we've rattled off above and some. Jeter is one of the games most respected players by both players and fans alike. He's been the ultimate professional for his entire career. A cornerstone for the Yankees you've witnessed dominate. A leader which carries more respect than any player I've ever seen this side of Calvin Edwin Ripken Jr., that's right.

My bet is that Jeter sits down with slightly over 3,340 hits which will be greatly dimished by the class he has displayed throughout some of the most challenging times in the City of New York (go back to September 11th) and the most challenging times for Major League Baseball (The Mitchell Report). All this being said, Jeter gets nothing but 'Kudos' from me.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

A Baseball 'Guy'

And I'm back at it. After a much needed vacation, celebration of America's birthday, and watching 16 hours-a-day of Pawn Stars and American Pickers, I'm back. Now with just two of our four major professional sports remaining open for business, Let's Get After It!

Been watching a ton of baseball since The Cup Finals concluded, and it's refreshing a bit. Got to see the Red Sox play in Houston, Pittsburgh, and Philly, not ballparks you see every night. Watching the Yankees maneuver Jeter's 3,000th hit to take place in The Big Apple. The Minnesota Twins pulling the trigger to move their $184 million franchise cornerstone catcher Joe Mauer from behind the plate to first base. Mets shortstop Jose Reyes having a career year before slamming into the DL. Phillies ace Cliff Lee flat out dominate in his first year back in Philadelphia. Now, that has got you pretty much caught up, right?!?! If not . . .

Our Red Sox fix; To my readership, we come first. Down to just one effective starter from the start of the season, albeit an awful start, the Red Sox overtook 1st place with a 10-4 win over Baltimore on Thursday night. With the most wins in the American League (52), an awfully deep Red Sox team has really impressed over the first three plus months of the season. The 35-year old David Ortiz is on pace for his most productive season since 2006. The All-Star designated hitter has slugged 18 homers before the break to go along with driving in 50 runs. Newly acquired All-Star 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez has came along as advertised. Leading the American League in batting average (.351) and runs batted in (76) Gonzalez has delivered exactly what Red Sox brass had expected, and more. Staff ace Josh Beckett, the remaining effective starter, has given the Red Sox ace stuff throughout the first half. With a 2.12 era in sixteen starts heading into Friday night, the 31-year old starter boasts three victories against division rival New York and and one against Tampa. Finally, in a bounce back season from playing only 18 games a season ago, centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has been fantastic. The catalyst of the Red Sox lineup, Ellsbury, is on pace to record career highs in nearly every statistical category. How good is this Red Sox lineup?!? While Ellsbury is stealing fewer bases this season, the offense of Pedroia, Youkilis, Gonzalez, and Ortiz have him on pace to score more runs than he has in his career. Oh, and all this is while getting next to nothing from injured off-season acquisition Carl Crawford and 'in-a-contract year' J.D. Drew, making $28 million between them.

Guy who 'hates the All-Star Game,' it's a treat! It's for the fans, it's all for the fans. Three reasons why I'm very, very excited for All-Star Game festivities: (1) Why has it taken so long for baseball to add the wrinkle of picking captains for Home Run Derby teams?!?! It's great! Big Papi kept it American League East picking his sluggers. Teammate Adrian Gonzalez (17), Blue Jay Jose Bautista (29) the Major League leader, and Yankee Robinson Cano (15). National League slugger Prince Fielder added his Brewers teammate Rickie Weeks (16), Dodger Matt Kemp (22), and Cardinal Matt Holiday (13). Next, (2) Let's rip the Yankees. In an event for the fans, Yankees legends Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera have opted out of the All-Star game to deal with lingering injuries, oh and that jerk Alex Rodriguez! Guys, you play an inning or two then joke around with other players for the remainder of the game while in the dugout. Doesn't matter if you thought you deserved to be there or not, the fans want to see you play alongside others you don't typically play with! But no, don't show up, it's to much of a strain on you right?!?! Finally, (3) The National League All-Stars are a virtual who's who of big-time arms! Start off with the Phillies three-headed monster of Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Cy Young front runner Roy Halladay, 381 strikeouts between them. Giants ace Tim Lincecum, a 2x Cy Young award winner, is headed to the All-Star game allowing just 6 runs in his last four starts. Dodgers hard throwing lefty Clayton Kershaw, who is coming off an eight-inning gem against the Mets on Thursday, oh and he's the games leader in strikeouts with 147. Finally, the Atlanta 25-year old Jair Jurrjens whose mind boggling 1.87 era and twelve wins are both the National Leagues best. Expect a low scoring one here! (I fully understand this didn't sell you on the ASG)

Motor City ace Justin Verlander has been awesome and he's headed to a Cy Young. Already thrown a no-hitter this season, Verlander's 19 starts in Detroit have all been strong. Eating up innings (143), fanning batters (138), and notching wins (11), Justin Verlander has been extremely effective through the first half. Verlander has thrown three shut-outs and allowed 1-run another three times, brings him to a 2.26 era! Just looking at the numbers alone, how could anyone else come up with a more viable candidate to take the Cy Young?!? Verlander is 1st in the American League in innings pitched and strikeouts, as previously mentioned. He is second in complete games and wins, all major reasons his Tigers are just a half game out in the American League Central. With wins against a slew of American League pennant contenders, there isn't a better starter you want getting the ball in a big game!

How 'bout them Pirates!?!? Former Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle has got his new club in Pittsburgh contending for the National League Central crown. Tied with St. Louis and sitting a game back of 1st place, the 46-42 Pirates have been impressive throughout the first half. With their only All-Star being an unknown, closer Joel Hanrahan, they've been flying very quietly under the radar despite taking two of three from Boston just a couple weeks ago. Back to the Hanrahan for a second, this kid has a 1.34 era and is amongst the league leaders in saves with twenty-six, how do we not know about him yet?!?! They've got a bonified All-Star snub in twenty-four year old outfielder Andrew McCutchen. A top twenty-five home run hitter, a top-twenty rbi guy, and McCutchen doesn't get in?!?